The number one reason why people fail to achieve their goals and are almost permanently disappointed by their results is a lack of motivation.
You simply cannot lose weight consistently over time and build your fitness if you are not motivated enough to stick to your programme.
Reading this post will give you 7 hardcore tips on how to stay motivated on your fitness programme.
1. Set measurable and achievable goals.
A lot of people get into exercise after making the realisation that they’re unhappy with their weight/health. They’re not sure exactly what they want to achieve but they do know that they don’t want to remain overweight and out of shape.
While this realisation is a great starting point. You need to have an exact vision of what you want to achieve. Perhaps you want to go down two belt sizes, or for women a specific dress size. Having a mental picture of your ideal physique helps a lot! Most importantly, it should be achievable.
The exact vision gives you a precise idea of what you’re going for and motivates you to keep working out.
After setting you main goal, e.g. get to 180lb bodyweight by summer in order to look good in shorts. You should set milestones in 4 week intervals to measure and check your progress to make sure you’re on track. Attack your goal using bite-sized milestones, e.g. lose 10lbs per month.
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Give yourself a treat for achieving your goals, I’m a gadget freak. I told myself that I needed to do 150reps on the 10 minute snatch test, as a reward I’d buy myself an iPhone 4S. It was a helluva motivator and I did it!
2. Find a training partner.
If you’re working out by yourself all the time, it can be easy to make excuses and skip workouts from time to time. Your motivation levels will go up and down all the time. When you reach your low points it can be really enticing to throw in the towel and stay home and watch a movie while eating ice cream.
A training partner can help kick your butt in gear. Friendly competition and rivalry helps maintain motivation. You can help each other out on your low points as well. If one person is making excuses the other can help to snap out of it.
If you can’t find a training partner another great way to get the same effect is to commit yourself to achieving your goals by explaining them to a trusted loved one. It works a bit like a pledge or an oath. Psychologically you don’t want to seem like a failure or let someone else down, so you will try hard to stick to your pledge. They can also hold you to account if you’re not progressing.
3. Absolute commitment in the first few weeks of your programme.
Carl Daikeler of BeachBody says that the most common time for people to quit their programme is between the 2 week to 4 week period, also known as “the wall”. That’s when someone is most likely to give up training. But if you get through that first 4 weeks chances are you will stick with the programme for the long term.
So here’s what you need to do. When you start a new programme or start exercising after a long layoff. Commit yourself for the first 30 days. No matter how painful or difficult it may seem, do not quit. Stick to your programme, and after 30 days of regular training it will be habitual to you and will become super easy.
4. Make workouts fun with variations
The biggest reason why people quit training is mediocrity. They get tired of doing the same thing over and over again. Hence why people who just run on the treadmill for fitness end up being the first ones to quit (usually).
The best thing to do, is stick to a workout for 4 weeks and then change you workouts a little. It’s also important to do that to drive through your plateaus as well. Your body adapts to exercises over time, and stops making gains so you need to shock your body by altering your programme.
Most importantly, make sure the workouts are interesting and fun. It’s no good forcing yourself to do an exercise that you feel is torture. It must be engaging and fun to do.
Adding a social dimension by taking kettlebell classes adds tremendously.
5. Keep a journal
Always record your workouts, you can print out your logs from the Kettlebell Basics 101 Manual. But it’s much more preferable to keep a log on a spreadsheet so you can track your progress.
Blogging your workouts can help tremendously too. If you don’t have a high traffic blog, an alternative method is to join a popular forum based on your goals (e.g. fat loss, fitness, strength gain) and create a workout log thread.
The point of the blog isn’t just to record your progress, the point is to get encouragement from others and reach out.
6. Don’t overextend yourself.
Remember to pace yourself and challenge yourself within your range of abilities. If you push yourself too hard you might get put off. On the flip side if you don’t challenge yourself enough and keep improving you may get bored and quit (read point 4).
Don’t force your life to fit around your workout, fit your workout around your life. Exercise at a time that suits you some people prefer evenings, some people prefer mornings, other people even work out during their lunch! The point is everyone is different so cater to your individual needs.
7. Do it to feel good not to look good.
Edward Deci, Ph. D., a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, says that working out to lose weight for a partner or other third party reasons are not a strong enough motivator for the long term. You must exercise because YOU want to do it for yourself. Also studies have shown that those who exercised to feel good rather than look good ended up sticking to their programme for longer.